23 January 2020

Women's FA Cup preview: Manchester derby set to steal the show as Sheffield United and West Ham eye upsets at home to Birmingham and Arsenal

Women's Super League teams begin their pursuit of the FA Cup this weekend as the fourth round gets underway.

And immediately fans will be treated to a mouthwatering clash at lunchtime on Saturday as rivals Manchester United and Manchester City square off at the Leigh Sports Village.

City won the first ever Manchester derby between the two sides on the opening day of the WSL season in September thanks to an early screamer from Caroline Weir.

And Nick Cushing's side head into one of their last games with him in charge off the back of four successive league wins in a row.

Meanwhile, Casey Stoney's United have had mixed form since the turn of the year, suffering a shock home defeat to Bristol City before recovering to outclass Tottenham 3-0 last time out.

Both sides also booked their place in the League Cup semi-finals and avoided each other in the draw for the last four.

United will also see this as an opportunity to dent City's confidence in the title race after the Blues moved top of the table at the weekend.

It is a tough ask for the Red Devils, but they can take strength from their 2-0 win in the group stage of the League Cup in October.

Elsewhere, WSL champions Arsenal face the daunting prospect of travelling to a fellow top tier side in West Ham just seven days after their humiliating 4-1 defeat at home to title rivals Chelsea.

The Hammers will undoubtedly see this as a major opportunity to secure a big upset as they will be in buoyant mood off the back of their late fightback against Brighton.

Matt Beard's side also pushed the Gunners all the way at Meadow Park earlier on in the campaign, losing narrowly 2-1, so Arsenal will know they cannot afford to let last weekend's potentially crucial defeat affect them ahead of this one.

Another cupset which could arise this weekend is second division Sheffield United hosting WSL strugglers Birmingham City at the Proact Stadium.

The Blades are second in the Championship having won six of their last seven league games and currently sit just two points off Aston Villa in top spot.

Contrastingly, Birmingham have lost their last three in the WSL and are just a point above the relegation zone, so will not be relishing the idea of travelling to an upbeat lower tier side this weekend.

There will be a full report on the Manchester derby as well as a round-up of all the FA Cup fixtures on the NewsChain website.

Women's FA Cup fourth round fixtures:

Saturday, January 25:

Manchester United vs Manchester City (12:45pm)

Sunday, January 26:

Bristol City vs Durham

Burnley vs Leicester

Everton vs London Bees

Huddersfield Town vs Ipswich Town

Lewes vs Billericay Town

Liverpool vs Blackburn

Sheffield United vs Birmingham City

Southampton vs Coventry United

Sunderland vs Watford

Tottenham Hotspur vs Barnsley

West Ham United vs Arsenal

Charlton Athletics vs Chelsea

London City Lionesses vs Reading

Southampton FC vs Crystal Palace

Aston Villa vs Brighton & Hove Albion

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